Research studies, including the largest prospective nutrition study ever, continue to suggest that industrial toxins such as PCBs, methylmercury, and arsenic in chicken and/or chicken eggs may increase the risk of cancer. The high-temperature cooking of bird muscles can create cancer-causing compounds. This was demonstrated in a testing of chicken products served at fast food chains. This may help explain why poultry has been associated with the risk of lymphoma (see also here). Cured chicken may also contain carcinogenic nitrosamines. Eating chicken and eggs may negatively affect emotional (see also here), mental, vascular, and hormonal health (such as the feminization of male genitalia). Genetic manipulation of chickens has led to clinically obese birds that may play a role in the human obesity epidemic because of their fat content (and maybe even their obesogenic virus content). Chicken by-products are probably not the best source of protein for infant formula. The overuse of antibiotics in chicken and meat production is creating superbugs (see also here, here, here). Bacterial from fecal contamination of chicken presents a food safety risk, including urinary tract infections. Parasitic worms contained in fish meal fed to chickens may cause allergic reactions in those who eat the chicken. Chicken is deficient in antioxidants, phytonutrients, and fiber, while potentially containing excessive salt, flame-retardant chemicals, AGEs, arachidonic acid (see also here), paralysis-causing bacteria (that can cross-contaminate other foods and surfaces), and cancer-causing agents (including eggs). Even neurological diseases and penile cancer have been linked to poultry exposure. Chicken can provide vitamin B12, but there are safer sources. The most recent USDA Dietary Guidelines suggest eating more fruits and vegetables and less saturated fat, for which chicken is a leading source (see the potential breast cancer survival implications here). Countries that have successfully cut saturated fat have been able to dramatically cut disease risk.
Topic summary contributed by Sue.